tv PBS News Hour PBS March 4, 2013 5:30pm-6:30pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: a child born with the virus that causes aids has apparently been cured for the first time. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the newshour tonight, we talk to two experts about the infant's treatment, and ask whether it offers hope for the hundreds of thousands of h.i.v. positive babies around the world. >> ifill: then, we examine president obama's energy and environment team, as he names new cabinet picks. >> suarez: we look at why more
and more doctors have stopped accepting patients on medicare. >> this is the oldest, sickest part of our population. i felt i was being pushed to herd them through in a turnstile way in 15 minutes or less. >> ifill: margaret warner updates efforts to get iran to halt itnuclear program, aer vice president biden says the u.s. is not bluffing about possible military action. >> suarez: and jeffrey brown profiles poet david ferry, still writing verse, reading poems, and receiving honors at age 88. >> every poem, just as everything we say to one another, is an attempt to try to get something clear to the other person or to ourselves. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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>> suarez: researchers confirmed the two-year-old girl born with h.i.v. has been functionally cured and remains virus-free even after treatment months ago. it marks the first time h.i.v. has been essentially eradicated in a child making her just the second person ever said to be cured of h.i.v. doctors at a mississippi hospital say they gave the girl an especially intensive three-drug regimen within three hours of birth before tests confirmed she was infeked and was not merely at high risk from her mother. the findings were announced in atlanta and is stirring much discussion about what it could mean for more than 300,000 babies born with h.i.v. each year, mostly in africa. we talked to two experts now watching this closely. dr. anthony fauci of the national institutes of health and rowena johnston vice president and director of research at the american foundation for aids research or a.m.f.a.r. dr. fauci, few babies are now
born h.i.v.-infected in the united states because their mothers are usually already on apt eye retro viral medicine. but when it does happen what's the norma protocol? what usually happens? >> what happens is that if you get good prenatal care, the mother if she's infected during the pregnancy would be treated just like you would treat any other infectedded person. both for her own health as well as for the fact that it would dramatically diminish the likelihood that that mother would transmit the virus to their baby during the period of peri-natal or during the birth period. to be extra especially sure that that doesn't happen, what you do is you then not fully robustly treat but the baby with one or two drugs which is not enough for a full treatment but enough for prevention. you do that for six weeks. if the baby turns out to not be infected, then you stop that... if the baby turns out to be infected you add the extra drug or two which will give a triple
combination. that in fact would be the regular treatment for an infected baby. one of the problems is that if the baby is infected and you waited six weeks or so or a few weeks at least to determine definitively if the baby is infected, then the virus could have the opportunity to form at wecall reservoirs and take a full hold into the baby. that makes it more difficult to eradicate. what the pediatricians did in this case was something... what was a gutsy call but the right call. they felt that the baby was at such risk because the mother was not treated that they started right off from the get-go with the triple combination within 30 hours of the baby being infected, i.e., born. and that seemed to have what we're seeing now essentially cured the baby. >> suarez: rowena johnston, why was that decision made and how washe effect monitored? when they started this drug regimen right away, what were the special circumstances?
>> well, this was a mother who came into medical care... well, she presented during labor. she had no medical care. rapid h.i.v. test was administered during labor. she was determined to be h.i.v. positive. the pediatricians recognized under those circumstances because the mother had not been taken proaf lax it there was a fairly high risk she might transmit h.i.v. to her baby. they decided to take that gsy decision to administer full treatment of antiretroviral therapy at 30 hours after birth. i mean, a baby might not normally get a full treatment dosage of antiretroviral therapy until as many as six weeks after birth. so what was different in this case is that this regimen was started actually at about 30 or 31 hours after birth and as dr. fauci had also mentioned, what might be critical here is that because that therapy was administered so early, they may have beat the virus to the punch. thats, they may have adinisted the therapy early
enough with these viral reservoirs were not able to establish themselves. what we do know those of us interested in finding a cure for h.i.v. infection we know the major impediment to the cure is the establishment and the maintenance of those reservoirs. the fact that we have those reservoirs and the antiretroviral therapy cannot eradicate those reservoirs that's the barrier that stands between us and an h.i.v. cure. so what these researchers did here, what the hypothesis is is that perhaps they disrupted this process earlynough that those reservoirs never had a chance to establish themselves. >> suarez: to follow up, how was it realized that the baby was essentially h.i.v. free? did it take a while before that was understood? >> well, there were several things that happened in this case. this child was in regular medical care until roughly 18 months of age and had been taking antiretroviral therapy as recommended but at about that 18 months of age point, both the mother and the child disappeared and did not visit their doctor.
when they came back into medical care, the mother did confess at that tim that thhild had n been taking antiretroviral therapy for at least five months. one of the first thing that the pediatrician in charge of the case did was to administer a test because she wanted to determine how much virus outgrowth there had been and how one should most appropriately treat the baby at that point. she was astonished to find that there was no virus. so she thought that actually this must be a mistake. she readministerred that test and there was no virus to be detected. >> suarez: dr. fauci, what can you learn from a case like this that could be applied in those countries where many people are born h.i.v.-infected? >> well, in the country you're talking about the problem is enormous. globally even though we only have about 100 to 200 which is 100 to 200 too many infections in infants from their mothers in the united states per year there are about 1,000 infections per day mostly in the developing
world, tick tarly in sub saharan africa so it's a huge problem. what we can learn from this case, ray, is that the first and most important thing is to try to prevent fection. mainly,et mhers i trtmen during pregnancy and then do the same sort of... on the infant to prevent infection in the first place. that doesn't always happen at all in the developing world and not infrequently a mother will present in exactly the same way as this mother presented in mississippi here in the united states. namely walking into a clinic or an emergency room with no prior therapy. having this indexed case now of showing at least the possibility of with aggressionive early therapy curing an individual, then you might want to askhe question, when you're in that situation, is is the risk-benefit ratio much more favoring towards the benefit of being very aggressionive from the very beginning and not waiting that period of time until you've proven that the
person, the baby, in this case, is infected? and those are things that are now being discussed for clinical trials it could be done under the appropriate conditions and with the appropriate ethical considerations that you might be able to if you fail to prevent the infection in a situation such as a mother whohas n been treated. can you then actually cure the baby if you start the treatment aggressively and early enough? that's the critical question that now looms that will really be answered by saying, is this more broadly applicable than just an individual case in an unusual situation like we saw here in the united states and mississippi? we hope the latter is true. >> suarez: anthony fauci of the n.i.h., rowena johnston of a.m.f.a.r., thank you both. >> thank you. very much. >> ifill: on our webite, find an interview with one of the doctors who conducted the research. and still to come on the newshour, the president's energy
and environment team; doctors opting out of medicare; iran's nuclear threat; and an 88-year- poet still writing award-winning verse. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: millions of people in kenya voted for a president today, but 19 people were killed in a series of attacks. the election was seen as a test of democracy in the east african nation, under a new constitution. we have a report narrated by inigo gilmore of independent television news. reporter: even before the first ballots had been cast, the blood-letting had begun. this was the scene early this morning in the coastal town. after security forces were attacked by dozens of armed men from a suspected militia. at least four officers were killed in two separate attacks. many more were caught up in the violence. >> they hit me and slashed me with machetes. they told me they had been sent and given money by politicians
to disrupt the polls. >> reporter: despite this violence voting today passed off peacefully across most of the country with millions cueing patiently. election officials said the turnout was very high. but it's the fear of what may come next following the results that is causing anxiety. following elections in 2007 and claims of vote-rigging, more than 1200 people died. hundreds of thousands were displaced in an horrific spasm of tribal carnage. much of the fighting like the voting erupted along tribal lines as armed young men from rifle militias went on the rampage. among those accused of bank rolling the death squads is this man, presidential frontrunner kenyatta, the son of kenya's first president. he had been charged with the international criminal court of crimes against humanity for his role in the tribal blood-letting five years ago.
his trial was scheduled to begin as early as next month just when he's likely to face a run-off vote against the current prime minister odinga. odinga has mocked kenyatta during the campaign suggesting if he won he would have to run the country remotely from the hague via skype. it may take up to seven days before the official outcome is announced. sneep shiites mourned the death of 48 people killed in a powerful car bombing in krawchy. at least 200 others were wounded. thousands of people flooded the city's streets to attend funerals for the victims of last night's attack. they also appealed for protection against sunni militant groups. despite those pleas, gunmen killed two more people as they were leaving one of the funerals. the u.s. government today began its first full week under the sequester. the $85 billion in spending cuts took effect friday. and president obama promised today to minimize the effects on american families. house republicans plan to vote this week on giving the military more money and largely exempting
the f.b.i. and the border patrol. stocks rose on wall street today, in spite of the fallout from the sequester. the dow jones industrial average gained 38 points to close above 14,127. he nasdaq rose 12 points to close at 3182. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. >> ifill: president obama convened the first cabinet meeting of his second term today, even as he continued to fill seats left open at that table. sylvia burwell, the president of the wal-mart foundation, was nominated to head the office of management and budget. she served as deputy director of that agency during the clinton administration. and the president's picks on energy and environment brought other policy priorities into sharper focus. >> everybody have a seat. ifill: the president filled two more seats for his second-term cabinet this morning. the nominees: ernest moniz who would be energy secretary and gina mccarthy who would run the environmental protection agency. both require senate
confirmation. >> they're going to be making sure that we're investing in american energy, that we're doing everything that we can to combat the threat of climate change, that we're going to be creating jobs and economic opportunity in the first place. they are going to be a great team. these are some of my top priorities going forward. >> ifill: moniz is an m.i.t. physicist who runs an energy initiative on new ways to produce power and curb emissions. he also served as undersecretary of energy during the clinton administration. mccarthy already works in the administration as assistant administrator for the e.p.a.'s office of air and radiation. she has run state environmental agencies in connecticut and massachusetts, working for five governors including mitt romney. moniz and mccarthy would replace outgoing cabinet members steven chu and lisa jackson. early last month the president also tapped business executive sally jewel to replace ken salazar as interior secretary.
the nominees face major challenges. one imminent decision involves debate over approval of the keystone ex-seal pipeline that would move crude oil from canada to the gulf. the project has drawn environmental protests but a draft report released by the state department last week suggested there might be minimal adverse impact if proper precautions are taken. republicans like oregon congressman greg walden, are pressing for approval. >> the thing americans care most about is am i going to have a job? are we going to get this economy going? can you sign off on keystone pipeline, create 20,000 american jobs? >> ifill: the administration is also weighing decisions on coal-fired power plants and their emissions and whether they need to be more strictly regulated. we look at the president's agenda and what his new team signals about how he may act. michael brune is the president of the sierra club. and scott segal is a lobbyist for utility, refinery and oil and gas companies at bracewell and giuliani llp. scott segal, if you had to look at what you saw today in these
announcements, what would you say the administration's priorities are? >> i often remind folks on capitol hill that even if you oppose the president's choice, you don't get to pick the cabinet yourself. in this instance, i think we've got some interesting choices that i believe advance the ball forward. with respect to gina mccarthy, she's shown herself to be open and very direct. i don't always agree with the final result she reaches on rules. sometimes the benefits and costs of those rules are both overstated and understated. that can be problematic but when there are problems -- and there are always problems with thousand-page epa rules -- gina mccarthy at least wants to hear about it and interact with the community. moniz brings a clear-eyed approach to the department of energy and an actual familiarity with energy policy which will be a refreshing change at the energy department. last as far as sally jewel is concerned big question mark as far as we know. she does not have experience with the signal issues that face the interior department from
things like regional haze in our national parks to off-shore gas development to fracking on public land. these are big issues. she has no real experience in them. maybe she'll be good though. >> ifill: michael brune, as you look at the president choices and you look at his pry ors, how are they lining up for you? >> pretty good so far. to take it in reverse order, sally jewel we think is an excellent post. she has the potential to be a transformative post because for the first time you have someone running the department of the interior who looks at our natural resources and the economic base that can be built from them from the recreation to be fou:hiking, hunting fishing, rafting, in our natural resources as the former head of r.e.i. gina mccarthy, of course, has been fantastic over the last four years in helping to safeguard our air and water and our climate and has put forward some of the most powerful rules to transition towards clean energy. she is a red sox fan but other
than that she seems like a great lady. as far as moniz, we think he has said very powerful things about the role for solar in our future economy but also the role that energy efficiency and upgrading our energy systems, what that can do to curb carbon pollution but also create jobs at the same time. we're very encouraged by these three picks. >> ifill: as you look at the president's priorities what are your biggest concerns and which ones are your priorities as well starting with you? >> well, it all fits in the context of climate change. we're coming after a year of record droughts, record fires, record storms and record temperatures, and so the president has said that fighting climate change will be a top priority of his. to do that, we're going to have to find a way to curb the carbon pollution coming from smoke stacks and refineries around the country. and the administration has made that one of its signature pieces of... one of the signature rules that will come forward in the next couple years. keystone, of course, is probably
the first, biggest test of the president's commitment on climate change. then finally i would say the degree to which we go all in on clean energy to serve as an antidote of sorts to all of the fossil fuel projects that some of our proponents are putting forward. >> ifill: scott segal, your concns a priorities? >> they're not too dissimilar from michael brune's. i think carbon is a big near-term objective and a big near-term problem as well. for one thing the president and environmental organizations have set rather high expectations for the next e.p.a. administrator to use existing clean air act authority to address carbon. the problem with that is the statute was frankly not structured in a way that makes such addressing very useful or easy to do. therefore, the chances are that only very, very costly rulemaking might emerge. such costly rulemaking wl decrease job creation in the united states, will stop projects from being built. >> ifill: let me stop you there.
you say rulemaking. people don't know what you're talking about. are are you saying this is now being handled bye dick, by fiat rather than the legislative proceed. >> it's interesting. the president himself and the last administrator lisa jackson early in their tenure suggested that legislation was the way to go. for an issue that is so economy-wide, shakes the economy literally to its foundation, legislation is really needed. the use of mere regulatory authority under the existing clean air act is, in my judgment, improper. i think lisa... i think gina mccarthy is a realist who will quickly realize that overbroad regulatory interpretations are probably illegal, inadvisable and are likely to stifle economic recovery in the united states. >> ifill: michael brune, on that point? >> it seems a little overstated to me. first of all the clean air act was signed by president bush about 25 years or so ago. and what the president needs to do is simply follow the law and protect public health by cbing
carbon pollution. the good news here is that clean energy in obama's second term is a lot cheaper than it was in his first term. the price of solar has dropped by almost 70%. the price of wind continues to decline. so much so that in 2012, solar and wind combined made up 58% of the new capacity that was added to the grid last year. so what we're seeing is that clean energy can take up more of the burden in terms of our energy demand than coal and gas and nuclear power can. so, the rule-makinghat scott wa ferrin to, the burden to make that rule actually stick is a lot lower than it used to be. of course, we always know that clean energy creates more jobs. at the same time that it cuts carbon pollution. the great news here is that we can have a win-win saiment. >> ifill: do you expect a big change? >> i don't expect a tremendous amount of change but the one thing that i believe will come even sharper into focus in the
second term is that when i... you know, when i first came to washington and even at the beginning of this administration, words like "energy independence" or "energy security" were just tag lines that were used almost as advertisements. we now stand at the precipice of being able to actually embrace true energy independence with the consequences of being able to change u.s. foreign policy, create jobs in the united states. part of it is, as michael suggests, through investment in renewable power. but the other part of it is is through signal investments that are occurring in natural gas production and in learning new and effective ways to use our coal resources. when the president says all of the above he doesn't mean all that's above the ground. he means fossil fuels plus renewables. that's the best way to make the u.s. secure and to create jobs. >> ifill: michael brune, you get the last word on what you expect for the second term. >> in that term "all of the above" equals more of the same. we do have a face choice here. we can have energy independence and fight climate change at the
same time by investing in clean energy. if we perpetuate our dependence on these extreme dirty fuels like the tar sands or oil drilling in the arctic that's only going to extend the time line by which we're reliant on fossil fuels as opped to going all in on clean energy that will create more jobs, cut carbon pollution and make our air and water more clean. there's an historic opportunity here for the president. we're going to do everything that we can to make sure he seizes it. >> ifill: michael brune of the sierra club and scott segal, thank you both very much. >> thank you. for having us. >> suarez: now, doctors opting out of medicare. much of the political talk on medicare focuses on its rising costs. but for some patients, there are growing concerns about how hard it is to find a doctor. once a month, these seniors ghettoing at the public library in south austin texas to talk
about what's going on in their lives. this week medicare looms large. >> i wonder where would my friends and neighbors who are retired be if it weren't for medicare? >> it's a crisis especially in the primary care area. >> suarez: what they're talking about is how it's getting harder and harder to find doctors who treat medicare patients. one of the group's members, 78-year-old nancy martin, the search was particularly tough. after moving here from lubbock in 2007, she spent hours calling primary care doctors. >> i said, i'm nancy martin. i have just recently moved to austin. i am looking for a physician that will take a new medicare patient. "sorry, we don't take any new medicare people." i felt frustration, disace pointment. i would say despair. a lot of days just get to the point i thought i'm never going to find a doctor in austin.
what do you think i'll have to do? i don't know. >> suarez: martin has high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. >> i'll just go to the emergency room. >> suarez: after two years of searching, martin finally found a primary care physician. >> nice to see you today. thank you. suarez: there are differing estimates on how widespread the access problems are for medicare recipients nationally. only a handful of health organizations have even tried to study the issue. texas has one of the few state medical associations that have. >> patients are having a much harder time getting... finding a doctor who will accept medicare. >> suarez: lou goodman is the ceo. with 47,000 members, it's the largest state medical society in the u.s. >> in 2000 we had about almost 80% of the doctors were taking w medicare patients.
we just completed a survey last year, and we found that less than 60% were taking them. almost 20% fewer doctors are taking new medicare patients. and that really troubled us. >> suarez: goodman says the primary reason doctors are not taking new medicare patients or opting out altogether is because of something called the sustainable growth. it's a mathematical formula established by congress in 1997 to contain rising medicare costs. but inractice, it would have cut government payments to physicians for treating medicare patients every year since 2001. so every year congress at the last minute passes the so-called doc-fix averting the cuts and giving doctors a small raise. the annual doc-fix and the threats of lower rements in the future have left some doctors
insecure and unwilling to take on more medicare patients. christiane newman tracks medical for the kaiser fmily foundation. >> over the years a number of problems have emerged with the formula. it has resulted in a threatened reduction in payments for physicians each year. so this year, for example, had congress not taken action, physician fees would have been lowered by 30%. approximately. nobody really wants that to happen. >> suarez: congressional leaders have talked about passing a permanent payment fix. but each time they get close, they've been scared off by the estimated 138 billion dollar price tag. that's left some physicians to make tough decisions. >> anybody sick at home? suarez: last year the austin regional clinic or a.r.c., bit the bullet and stped taking new medicare patients. a.r.c., one of the largest health care groups in central texas, serves more than 400,000 area residents. dropping medicare was not something the health system
wanted to do, but ceo dr. norman chenven says it was an economic necessity. >> the issue was really one about the... it's the time and materials that it takes to provide care to someone. we can pretty much predict that if our medicare population grows beyond a certain percentage that our profitability is going to go away. >> suarez: the texas medical association says this chart tells the story. since 2001, medicare payments to hospitals and nursing homes have steadily gone up. but those to physicians have remained flat. meanwhile the cost of running a practice, according to the texas medical association, has increased between 25 and 50%. but it isn't just money that is driving the essence. two hours west of austin in the texas hill country dr. janet shane said it was rules, from the government, and stepped up
audit for fraud that drove her to stay out of medicare. >> i didn't see how i could stay in that program and give my patients the level of care i want to give them. >> suarez: she said medicare criticized her for spenting too much time with her patients. >> i'm a family doctor. i'm not a specialist. taking care of their toe or their eye. this is the oldest, sickest part of our population. and i felt i was being pushe pud them through in a turnstile way in 15 minutes or less. >> suarez: medicare makes up nearly a quarter of the nation's health care spending on physician services according to the centers for immediate carry and medicaid services. shane says even though she stopped taking those seniors she doesn't believe they've had trouble finding another doctor. and kaiser's crist a newman says their research indicates it's not a widespread problem. >> we just did a survey last year. in fact only 3% of seniors said they had trouble finding a doctor who would take medicare. there could be certain
situations where a senior may not be able to get their first choice in terms of physicians but in general there are physicians available who would see them. >> suarez: the independent medicare payment advisory commission also looked at the problem last june. of the 6% of seniors they surveyed looking for a new primary care physician one in four had a small or big problem getting an appointment. medicare itself says fewer than 10,000 doctors have officially opted out of the program in the past two years. but texas medical association's goodman thinks that's just the tip of the iceberg. >> i think we're going to have a real shortage and a real problem. there are data on both sides of that argument. our surveys show that we're going to have a huge influx of seniors but also not enough doctors to take care of them. no matter what. i think what could happen is our
emergency rooms could get flooded. as we know, emergency rooms are the costliest place to get care. >> suarez: this doctor says making a permanent doc-fix isn't all that needs to be done to keep physicians in the medicare program. doctors get paid by medicare based on fee-for-service. each service is paid for separately, giving incentive for physicians to provide more treatments regardless of the outcome. >> that has to change for us, for this country to figure out a better way to deliver care. >> suarez: every day about 10,000 americans turn 65. and it's estimated more than 25 million new medicare recipients will be in the program by the year 2020. the fight over the sequester >> suarez: the fight over the sequester could add even more complications. physicians are bracing for a 2% cut in medicare payments starting april 1. online, we look at another source of doctors' frustration: a new system requiring specific codes for everything from
flaming water ski burns to dolphin bites. that's on our health page. >> ifill: two high-level members of the obama administration issued new warnings to iran today. margaret warner has the story. >> president barack obama is not bluffing. ( applause ) he is not bluffing. >> warner: vice president biden brought that message to a.p.a.c., the american-israel public affairs committee today insisting that u.s. policy toward iran is firm >> it is to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, period. ( applause ) period. end of discussion. period. prevent, not contain. prevent. >> warner: if needed, he said, the u.s. will use military action to achieve it. the negotiation remains the
better option >> while that window is closing, we believe there is still time and space to achieve the outcome >> warner: moments later the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu addressed th same conference via telle from jerusalem. he gave a more dire assessment. >> i have to tell you the truth. diplomacy has not worked. iran ignores all these. it is running out the clock. it has used negotiations, including the most recent one, to buy time to press ahead with its nuclear program. >> warner: the most recent talks ended last week in kazakhstan with agreement only on further meetings. the u.s. and its partners did make an offer to iran: suspend enrichment of uranium at its plant and some sanctions will be eased. but in vienna today the chief of the u.n. nuclear agency voiced frustration that iran still bars inspections at its military site.
this person said as a result the agency cannot conclude that all nuclear material in iran is in peaceful activity. in fact, israel and the u.s. suspect tehran is amassing nuclear material and know how so it could sprint to a bomb with little or no warning. >> it's not crossed the red line i drew at the united naigsast september but iran is getting closer to that red line. it's putting itself in a position to cross that line very quickly once it decides to do so >> warner: iran's arab neighbors are like wise nervous. secretary of state john kerry were in saudi arabia today >> we both prefer diplomacy as the first choice, as the preferred choice. but the window for a diplomatic solution simply cannot by definition remain open indefinitely >> warner: kerry said there is a finite amount of time.
iran maintains its nuclear development is for peaceful purposes only. for the latest on the standoff over iran's program, we turn to former u.s. ambassador nicholas burns, now a professor at harvard's kennedy school. and flynt leverett, a former national security council director, now a professor at penn state university. welcome back to you both. ambassador burns, what is behind these really mirror, almost identical statements, today from the vice president and the secretary of state coming right on the heels of these talks in kazakhstan that at least ended on a somewhat promising note? >> well, margaret, i think the administration is trying to send a very strong signal to iran that while they're willing to negotiate, there is a limited amount of time to do that. they're trying to create some leverage, some strength on the american side of the negotiating table. i remember when i was a negotiator, it was always helpful to have some strength and leverage against the country on the other side if that was an adversarial relationship -- and this certainly is -- and in this case the administration, like president bush's add mrption,
has pursued a very tough sanctions line wit the iranians and now you saw today vice president biden articulating that there's a threat of force there if negotiations don't succeed. now, i think president obama is fundamentally dedicated to using the next couple of months to negotiate. there's a window for that because the iranians are now saying just in the last 48 hours that they might be open to direct talks but it's not a bad idea to have some toughness to the american position. that's what you heard today from the vice president. >> warner: would you agree that this is just another example of this so-called two-track strategy which president bush started:-open to or even talk but statement you're toughening the sanctions all the time and you're being forward about the military action possibility. >> i think it's contradictory and ultimately counterproductive. you don't need sanctions to get iran to the table. iran has been prepared to negotiate about its nuclear activities for decades.
it even suspended uranium enrichment for nearly two years as part of that process. and it got nothing in terms of u.s. recognition of its right to safeguard its enrichment or even its legitimate security interest. it's still prepared to negotiate and seriously. but it insists that any deal has to be predicated on acknowledgment of its nuclear rights including safeguarded enrichment. that's something that the united states has never been and is still not willing to give. until that changes, you're not going to get a positive result. sanctions won't help you close that... won't help you close that gap. it's counterproductive. >> warner: what do you say to that, that there's something inherently contradictory? this two-track approach has been going on since '06. has it really produced anything? >> i don't agree that somehow this is contradictory. in fact it's got a logic to it.
the iranians have not been willing to negotiate since serious negotiations were first offered to them in 2006 by president bush and by the russians, chinese and europeans. margaret, you've seen president obama since the very day of his first inauguration in 2009 reach out to the iranians. it's the iranian government that hasn't wanted to negotiate so they've really forced the rest of the international community -- and that does include nearly every major power in the world -- to vote for these sanctions and to do so until iran shows up at the negotiating table. i think they showed up in kazakhstan last week because they're feeling the pinch of the sanctions. their currency has been devalued. there are production is down by a million barrels a day. i think the sanctions are working >> i was just in iran in december a little over two months ago. no one whoas been in iran recently could possibly think that sanctions, even with the real hardships they're causing, will prompt either the islamic republics implosion or its surrender to u.s. demands in the
nuclear talks. that is just detached from reality >> warner: let me ask you both, starting with, you, ambassador burns. when does this, quote, window, this proverbial window that we keep hearing about actually close? in other words, given the current pace of enrichment on the part of the iranians, at what point is it going to approach that red line, a point at which israel certainly and perhaps the u.s. concludes that they can't be allowed to go any further? >> well, from all the publicly available information, it doesn't appear that iran is close to a nuclear weapon right now. so the good news is that we've really got most of 2012, if not all of it, for extended negotiations >> warner: you mean 2013, this year >> we have not had extended substantive -- 2013, thank you -- we've had not extended substantive negotiations with
the iranians, serious ones, on any subject since the jimmy carter administration. i do think that the administration, president obama is really dedicated to the diplomatic track and will give it, as vice president biden said today, time and space necessary. it can't happen in two weeks. i wouldn't agree with prime minister netanyahu that diplomacy has failed. we really haven't started the serious talks yet. so israel needs to support president obama and not get ahead of him in these talks >>arner: flynt leverett, when you listen to prime minister netanyahu he said over and over he thinks it's coming to a head this summer. this goes back, this is an old question but i ask it anew. are the u.s. and israel still on very different time clocks here? >> they are to some degree but i think, you know, netanyahu is trying to generate as much leverage as he can in advance of president obama's trip to israel. to generate as much leverage as he can in order to keep the
adminisation pursuing the more coercive aspects of the dual-track policy. the diplomatic track has to be more than a sound bite. you know, if you compare our approach to iran to what i would call really serious diplomacy, the w that president nixon approached real alignments of relations with the people's republic of china in the early 1970s, this was a very, very different approach based on acceptance of the people's republic, recognition of its legitimate interests, and nixon actuallyproactively relaxed sanctions, stopped covert operations against china and told the u.s. navy to stand down from aggression patrolling the taiwan straits. obama has gone in the opposite direction. this is not serious diplomacy >> warner: on that provocative note we're going to have to leave it there. i'm sure we'll revis it this issue. flynt leverett and ambassador
nicholas burns, thank you both. >> thank you . suarez: we'll be back shortly with a >> suarez: we'll be back shortly with a profile of poet david ferry. but first, this is pledge week on pbs. this break allows your public television station to ask for your support, and that support helps keep programs like ours on the air. >> ifill: for those stations not taking a pledge break, we have a second look at a story about garbage. as the nation produces more and more, one city is trying to get rid of it all. newshour correspondent spencer michels reports. >> reporter: each year americans throw away about 250 million tons of garbage. that's roughly four pounds per person per day. you can find all manner of trash in a landfill: old bent music
stands, plastic bags, and a lot of items that could have been recycled, like bottles and cardboard. beyond the obvious bright they cause, landfills create environmental damage and emit harmful greenhouse gases. they are monuments to waste. those concerns have prompted san francisco and a handful of other cities to aim for a once unthinkable goal. zero waste. in 2009, san francisco became the first city in the country to require that residents and businesses alike separate from their trash come postable items like food scraps and recyclable goods like paper, metals and plastic into separate bins. that has led to a big reduction in the amount of garbage headed to the landfill according to san francisco mayor ed lee. >> we're proud of the 80% diversion rate, the highest in the country, certainly of any city in north america >> reporter: lee likes to talk
garbage. he touts the fact that the city's recycling and come posting law has helped the city keep 80% of its waste out of landfills. the national recycling average is just 35%. but lee wants the city to go even further. >> i think the 80% we're not going to be satisfied with that, spencer. we want 100% zero waste. this is where we're going. >> so i chop and then maybe you make the omlette. >> reporter: san francisco residents think it's possible too. they are avid recyclers and composters, so much so this they produce almost no trash. deborah lists what goes into the compost bin >> we put packaged paper foods, soiled food wrappings like that. tissues. q-tips. paper npkins which we don't in our home. if those come in, those go in
there. soiled paper plates. milk cartons >> reporter: but not all san franciscans are as enthusiastic as these two. those who refuse to sort their garbage can face fines ranging from $100 to $1,000. san francisco's 80-year-old private garbage company which recently invented a new name for itself -- recoology -- has been investing in recycling and composting facilities and trying to change san franciscans perception of their garbage >> where some see garbage our company sees opportunity. working together we help make san francisco america's greatest city. >> the biggest remaining fraction to begin recycling of san francisco waste was food faift >> reporter: ceo and president mike sanjacimo took us on a tour of the company's sprawling 22-acre composting facility northeast of san francisco >> in terms of food waste
composting, this as good as it gets. we're creating a product that can be used on the soil to replenish nutrients >> reporter: food scraps and yard clippings brought here, some 400 tons a day, are turned into rich compost that is now being used by vineyards in nap a and sonoma. for all the valleys over san francisco's recycling and composting programs, there are some skeptics. some san franciscans say that city officials have not verified the rosy statistics. >> it's a myth. it's a bogus figure. >> reporter: quint incopp, a former state and city legislator, took part in an unsuccessful ballot effort last year to open the city's garbage contract to a competitive bidding process. copp says recology is inflating
their repsyching figures so they can boast they're leading the nation >> it's a good idea to recycle. it's also a good idea to be honest to the public about how much of the refuse and garbage in san francisco is actually being recycled. nobody knows except probably this company knows. they falsified the quantity. they falsified the type of material. and it's part of a bogus scheme to inflate the amount of recycling done. city hall goes along with it because it makes the politicians of city hall look good. >> reporter: how do you know that 80% figure is accurate? do you check it? >> yes, spencer, we actually do. in fact not only is our department of environment go out and do audits, we actually have auditors that go out there and make sure that we're all in compliance with the way we measure it and using the state standards and the state process
to do it >> reporter: no doubt in your mind that the 80% is real. >> no doubt at all. no doubt at all in my mind >> reporter: whatever the actual number is, recycling and composting don't come free. the company's ceo >> all of the services we provide are paid for by the customers whose materials we're taking away >> reporter: are they paying more in rates because of all this recycling and composting than they would otherwise? >> i would bet they're paying a little more but if you compare rates in bay area, san francisco versus other communities, we're right in the middle of the pack. and we're doing a lot more recycling than any other community. >> reporter: residents currently pay about $28 a month for their trash bins. recycling and composting bins are free. but last month the company requested a rate increase and for the first time wants to charge for composting and recycling bins. something the company says is necessary as the city moves toward eliminating its trash by
2020. >> suarez: online spencer >> suarez: online, spencer reflects on his "trashy" assignment, the moves by his city to reduce waste, and the financial factors at play behind the scenes. >> ifill: finally tonight, a poet still exploring his own deep connections to the past. jeffrey brown has our story. >> in february it will be a snowman's anniversary. >> brown: the weekly poetry reading for 88-year-old david ferry with his daughter and two grandsons, who live next door to his home in brookline, massachusetts. today's entry: maurice sendak's "chicken soup with rice." >> chicken soup.
>> brown: more often ferry is found here, at his desk, filling in more lines and verses in a lifetime of writing. and, late in life, the honors keep coming. recently he was given the ruth lilly lifetime achievement award. and his newest collection, titled "bewilderment," won the national book award for poetry. what are you bewildered by? >> everything! ( laughs ) every poem, just as everything we say to one another, is an attempt to try to get something clear to the other person or to ourselves. and that's always a partial success and a partial failure, in a sense. and the title acknowledges that. >> brown: ferry grew up in new jersey, the son of a businessman, and spent most of his adult life teaching english at wellesley college, chairing the department, raising a family, busy with all that entails. and he has a simple answer for what some have seen as a hugely productive flowering late in life. >> one answer is retirement. >> brown: your retirement gave
you more time? >> it gave me more time. it doesn't feel like, you know, i've suddenly got a lot of energy i didn't have. i don't know if i had it or not, but i was doing other things. >> brown: in addition to his own volumes of poetry, ferry is renowned as a translator. he's done acclaimed english versions of the babylonian epic, "gilgamesh," and of latin texts by horace and virgil. and lines from works of the past will, in turn, show up in and become part of his own verse. in the "bewilderment" collection, for example, a translation of a poem by virgil is followed by a similarly themed poem by ferry himself. this is a man clearly obsessed with connections and links. >> brown: i saw a review where someone referred to you with great admiration as a special kind of thief. so that's all artists, right, use from the past? >> yes. and i do do that. one reason for doing that is what it says in my own poem. it's usefulness for that poem.
it also does mean there's a motive to connect what you're saying to the past of writing. you want your own poem to be part of that enterprise. >> brown: there is a poem of yours called "ancestral lines" which goes to this question of connections to the past, right? can you read the beginning for us? >> it's as when following the others' lines, which are the tracks of somebody gone before, leaving me mischievous clues, telling me who they were and who it was they weren't, and who it is i am because of them, or, just for the moment, reading them, i am, although the next moment i'm back in myself and lost. >> brown: in that passage you have these lines of others telling me "who they were, who they weren't, and who i am." that's the kind of connective tissue? >> when you're reading something
compellingly great, that becomes part of your identity, at least when you're reading it. you become changed by reading it. and then you're finished with it, then you're lost again, and you're back to just who you are. >> brown: that interplay across centuries of literature is evident in several poems in the collection that allude to the death of his wife, literary critic ann ferry, in 2006. >> there are a number of poems in this book of which that experience is entered into, and some of the classical materials i had been translating. seven years ago, ferry moved to be nearer his daughter and grandsons, and in his new neighborhood he now finds himself the unofficial poet laureate of matt murphy's, a local irish pub that has immortalized him with a photo on the wall, and a passage from one of his poems painted around the bar. he's also working his way
through a new translation of one of the most famous poems in world literature, virgil's epic "the aeneid," hoping to finish in another two years. the recognition is pleasing, he told me, though he had his own humorous take on the national book award victory. >> when i told my daughter i was a finalist, she said, "what do you think your chances are?" and i said, "one in five," because there were five finalists. but my hope is maybe they'd give it to me as a "preposterous, pre-posthumous" award. >> brown: preposterous, pre- posthumous award? >> right, right. >> brown: well, david ferry, i'm glad they gave you the award. congratulations. nice to talk to you. >> very nice to talk to you. >> ifill: you can watch david ferry reading his poem "soul" on art beat. >> suarez: again, the major developments of the day. the world of aids research was alive with talk that doctors in mississippi apparently cured a baby who was born h.i.v.- positive. and millions of people voted in kenya's presidential election, despite attacks that killed at least 19. and that's the newshour for
tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at the senate confirmation hearings for john brennan, president obama's choice to be the next director of the c.i.a. i'm ray suarez. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: supporting progress for 200 >> bnsf railway. >> macarthur foundation. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.